“We’re here to help anyone affected by meningitis or septicaemia. Our free helpline and support service is here to support anyone affected or anyone who may have questions following this news. Anyone concerned about symptoms can visit MRF's symptom checker or call 0808 8003344.”
“Early symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion. Even a doctor may not be able to diagnose it in the early stages, which is why it’s so important for everyone to know the symptoms and for people to trust their instincts. If you, or someone you know is ill and getting rapidly worse, people should not be afraid to seek urgent medical help - even if they’ve already been seen by a doctor that same day.”
Around 1 in 5 teenagers harmlessly carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of the nose and throat, but it is quite unusual for the bacteria to invade the body and cause disease.
Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted from person to person by close contact with others such as coughing, sneezing, kissing etc. However, usually we have to be in very close or regular contact with someone for the bacteria to pass between us. Even when this happens, most of us will not become ill.
MRF encourages everyone to take up the offer of the vaccines that are available to them to protect themselves and their families. However, there are not yet vaccines available to prevent all forms of the disease so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms.
Young people up to the age of 25 are strongly encouraged to check if they have had or are eligible for the MenACWY vaccination. This protects against four types of meningitis. Immunisation against group B meningococcal (MenB) (the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK) is currently only given to babies.
Anyone in the UK can check whether they are eligible for the MenACWY vaccine using our eligibility checker.